Companies including Medibank, NIB, Bupa and other health insurers have been informing their members that the cuts to their benefits are as a result of the Commonwealth Government’s new private health insurance (PHI) reforms set to roll out from 1 April 2019.
News Corp Australia reports Medibank has already emailed their members with mid-range corporate hospital products to warn they will axe benefits for 70 treatments, including some weight loss and fertility treatments.
Representing the PHI industry, Private Healthcare Australia’s CEO, Dr Rachel David, said “One third to one half of health fund members will be receiving letters indicating some change”.
“There will be inclusions as well as exclusions,” Dr David said.
Speaking to News Corp, Australian Medical Association president, Tony Bartone, said “anything which makes private health insurance more expensive or less value for money will continue the exodus from insurance and build up the stress on the public system to the detriment of patients on long-waiting lists”.
Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, has promised that Labor, if elected, would establish a Private Health Insurance Inquiry, as well as imposing a 2 percent cap on private health insurance price rises for two years.
With Australians already cancelling or downgrading their health insurance policies, the health policy challenges facing State and Federal governments will likely be front and centre during this year’s election campaigns.